What happens after I apply?

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Step 1: Full registration at the Asylum Service

You will be invited to fully register your application in person to one of the Regional Asylum Offices or Units. You may also submit applications for members of your family if they are with you in Greece and they wish to do so too.

In order to submit your international protection application you are entitled to the assistance of an interpreter provided by the authorities.

When submitting your application, you must answer with absolute sincerity all questions asked by the Asylum Service staff. If you provide false evidence or make false claims, this may have a negative effect on the judgment of your case.

When you submit your application for international protection, you and any members of your family will be photographed. You and any person above the age of 14 in your family will also be fingerprinted. Your fingerprints will be entered into the European Central Database EURODAC and if the conditions are met, your application might be examined by another EU member state (see “Dublin III”).

You will have to submit to the asylum service your travel documents (passport) and any other document you may have in your possession that is relevant to the examination of your application, the verification of yours and your family members’ identity, your country of origin, as well as your family status.

Full registration of your application includes your identity details, your country of origin, your father’s name, your mother’s name, your spouse’s name, your children’s names, your e-mail address (if there is one), biometric identification data, a comprehensive list of the reasons why you are requesting international protection, your address of residence or stay, the language in which you wish to have your application examined and, if you wish, appointment of an authorized representative.

If your contact information changes at any stage of your application process, you must inform the Asylum Service. For more information see here https://migration.gov.gr/en/gas/diadikasia-asyloy/allagi-stoicheion-epikoinonias/ (information available in English and Greek).

In case you are an unaccompanied child, you will have to be informed by your appointed guardian regarding your interview. Your guardian will be invited and he/she may be with you during the interview. In case there is any doubt regarding your age, the authorities may conduct medical examinations to determine your age. Both you and your guardian must be informed regarding this procedure and you or your guardian must consent. If you are an unaccompanied child, you can find more information here https://migration.gov.gr/en/gas/diadikasia-asyloy/asynodeytoi-anilikoi/.   

If you are national or stateless with previous residence in one of the following countries Ghana, Senegal, Togo, Gambia, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Albania, Georgia, Ukraine, India, Armenia, Pakistan and Bangladesh, please be informed of the following:

  • your country is included in the national list of safe countries of origin and therefore it is presumed by the Asylum Service that you are not in risk of persecution or serious harm in case you return and that in your country there is effective state protection,
  • in case you have serious reasons to consider the opposite you have to state them and prove them and
  • your application will be examined in the accelerated procedure and in case you do not express and develop during the interview in a clear, specific and coherent manner the circumstances in which you base your fear of persecution or serious harm upon return to your country of origin, your application will be rejected as manifestly unfounded.

In case you are a victim of torture, rape, or any other serious act of violence, you must inform the authorities accordingly, so that they can provide assistance to you.

The Asylum Service will determine a date for your interview, and you will receive your international protection applicant’s card which may be valid for up to six (6) months. You must carry this card with you at all times.

All information you provide within your application is confidential. All members of the Asylum Service staff have a duty of confidentiality and any information you provide to the Service throughout the examination of your application is not going to be disclosed to anybody that you indicate as the actor of persecution or serious harm.

You may request to contact the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees or any Organization that provides legal, medical and psychological support.

Throughout the procedure you have the right to ask for the assistance of a lawyer or other counselor of your choice (without any mediation by the Asylum Service). In that case, you will have to authorize in writing (authentication of your signature required) so that he/she is able to accompany you during your interview or represent you before the Asylum Service. The fee and expenses of the lawyer or other counselor will be completely at your own cost. There are also organizations that provide free legal aid. For more information please see here https://help.unhcr.org/greece/where-to-seek-help/other-services/

You may ask for the interview and interpretation to be performed by a person of the gender of your preference, provided that there are serious reasons for such a request. Your request will be assessed by the Asylum Service and will be satisfied if that is possible.

You must also present in person to the asylum office on the date of your examination, otherwise your case examination will be interrupted, and your card will no more be valid.

Step 2: Interview with the Asylum Service

On the date of the detailed interview you must go to the Asylum Office.  During this interview, the Asylum Service employee will ask you questions regarding the information provided in your application, including information on your identity, on how you came to Greece, on the reasons why you left your country of origin, or the country where you used to live and the reasons why you cannot or do not wish to return to that country. During the interview, you may also submit any other evidence that you consider necessary. The Asylum Service can decide to keep documents if they need them to make their decision and will give you a signed receipt for any documents submitted.

A separate interview is conducted for each adult family member. An interview is also conducted for each family member who is underage, taking into consideration their level of maturity and the mental consequences of any traumatic experiences they may have experienced.

An interpreter will also be present during your interview. Interpretation will be provided in a language you comprehend. Interpretation is provided free of charge.

You may ask to come into contact with UNHCR or any organization that provides legal, medical and psychological support.

You may attend your interview accompanied by a lawyer or other counselor (physician, psychologist or social worker) whom you must have authorized in writing so that he/she can attend your interview or represent you before the Asylum Service. The fee and other expenses or the lawyer or other counselor will have to be covered by you.

Your interview may be audio recorded. The caseworker will compose a text (transcript) that will include all the questions and answers of the interview. If the interview is not audio recorded, you will have to proofread the text in the transcript, assisted by the interpreter, confirm that all contents are correct or ask for any corrections, and sign it. You may receive a copy of the transcript and/or the audio recording file of your interview after submitting a relevant application.

If you are a woman, you may ask for your interview to be conducted by a female Asylum Service employee and a female interpreter, if available. In any case, you may ask for your interview and its interpretation to be conducted by an individual of the sex of your choice, provided you present a serious reason for such a request. Your request will be assessed by the Asylum Service.

Everything you say during the interview is confidential. It will not be disclosed to your alleged persecutors but can be shared with other Greek authorities.

You may visit the relevant link of the official website of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum  for more information about the interview here https://migration.gov.gr/en/gas/diadikasia-asyloy/i-synenteyxi/(the information is available in English and Greek).

Step 3: The Greek authorities decide on your application

After the interview, the Asylum Service will make a decision about your application after taking into account your statements during your personal interview, the evidence you have submitted in order to justify you case, information in relevance with your country of origin and all the elements included in your administrative file.

After your interview, the Asylum Service will decide whether to grant you refugee status, subsidiary protection, or to reject your application.

If your international protection application is rejected, a decision for your removal from the country will be issued.

The decision document that will be sent to you will be accompanied by an additional document that will explain, in a language that you comprehend and in a manner that is simple and easy to comprehend, the contents and the consequences of the decision.

You may receive your decision either in person or through a letter that will be posted to you (or your lawyer) by registered mail.

You have the option to return to your country of origin through the voluntary repatriation program of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

If you have changed your address or your telephone number, you must immediately notify the Asylum Service

While the examination of your application is pending, you can withdraw it, if you so wish. In such a case, your application will not be examined, your stay in the country will not be allowed and you will have to leave Greece if you do not hold another residence permit.

For more information regarding what happens after the interview please visit the link https://migration.gov.gr/en/gas/diadikasia-asyloy/.

In case you are granted refugee status by the Hellenic Republic, you are entitled to get a three-year residence permit, which will be valid for three (3) years, and, in case you wish to do so as a beneficiary, you may obtain a travel document issued by the Hellenic Republic, that will allow you to visit other EU countries for a time duration of up to ninety (90) days. The permit of residence for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection will be granted for one (1) year and is renewed for two (2) more years after re-examination.

For more information regarding a positive decision please visit the link https://migration.gov.gr/en/gas/diadikasia-asyloy/thetiki-apofasi/.

In case your application is rejected, or in case you are granted a subsidiary protection status and you consider that you are entitled to the refugee status, you have the right to appeal before the Appeals Authority (2nd instance). You must submit your appeal to the competent Regional Asylum Office or to the Asylum Unit which issued the rejection, within the deadline mentioned on the decision that you received.

In case you are staying in a Facility that is located far from the Regional Asylum Office (or Asylum Unit) that issued your decision, you may submit your appeal at the nearest Asylum Service Office. In that case, the appeal is sent through e-mail to the Asylum Office or Asylum Unit that issued the decision on the same day. To submit your appeal, you need to come in person to the competent office of the Asylum Service and bring the relevant document (appeal), signed by you or your lawyer. In case you are detained, you need to submit you appeal to the Supervisor of your detention facility or center, and he will sent your appeal by fax or other digital medium to the Regional Asylum Office or Asylum Unit that issued the decision.

You are going to be given a new International Protection Applicant’s Card upon submitting your appeal.

The Asylum Service has a registry of lawyers who may support you free of charge during the time when your appeal is submitted and examined at the second instance. You may apply online for legal assistance.  Please see here  https://applications.migration.gov.gr/ypiresies-asylou/.

Your appeal will be examined by an Independent Appeals Committee. The Independent Appeals Committee usually examines appeals based on the documents in your file and does not call you for an interview. However, you will be informed regarding the date of examination of your appeal, as well as any deadlines if you wish to submit additional evidence in order to be taken into account by the Independent Appeals Committee.

In case the Appeals Committee decides to call you for an interview, you will be notified accordingly ten (10) business days before the date of the interview, at the latest. You have the right to go to the Appeals Committee escorted by a lawyer or other counselor.

The Appeals Committee will decide to either grant you refugee status, subsidiary protection status, or reject your appeal.

In case your appeal is rejected, or in case the decision grants you a status of subsidiary protection and you believe that you are entitled to a refugee status, you may submit an application of  annulment () to the competent local Administrative First Instance Court within thirty (30) days starting on the next day after the decision was served to you. The application for annulment does not have an automatic suspensive effect, meaning that your removal from the country is possible in case your appeal was rejected.

In case your application is rejected, you will be detained in a Pre-Departure Detention Center until your removal is performed or your application is finally approved. You will remain detained in the Pre-Departure Detention Center even in case you have lodged a subsequent application and/or submitted an application for annulment, and/or a suspension application. In case your appeal is rejected, the Independent Appeals Committee will issue a decision for your return to your country.

For more information regarding 2nd instance procedure please visit the link of the official website of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum.

For information on the asylum procedure in 18 languages, please visit the webpage of the Ministry for Migration and Asylum here https://migration.gov.gr/en/gas/plirofories-se-18-glosses/.